One way to simplify your life and feel better is to limit your consumption of news. News used to give information that we should know about. But, now that it can track clicks and get considerable information about consumers, the business model has changed.
The more amped up it can get you, the better for the company because you are more likely to tune in or click. News and opinion start to merge together. Speculation, mind-reading and “if it were true, then…” masquerade as facts. Selective editing and taking things out of context so it relays the story as they want it to be seen rather than how it was. Even the pictures and language they choose convey a point of view. They want to shock, outrage and scandalize you. It’s a “bombshell”,”catastrophic”, or “shocking.” The more emotion they can get out of you, the better as you are more invested in the story.
The news acts like it is the conveyor of truth about what is happening in the world. But, they make decisions about what to share from all the things that happen every day. They usually share what’s negative because that is what sells. Matt Wuerker created a cartoon where hundreds of people are holding peace signs, united we stand, hate has no home here and then the news cameras on the four hateful racists.
I can always tell the news junkies because they are the ones running around saying the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Over 90% of the news is negative because that’s what grabs attention. If you think 90% of life is negative, that’s a lot of cynicism.
The news is making us less trusting of one another, more divided, and less optimistic. Psychology Today writes that in studies those who watched negative news were sadder and more anxious. Plus they started catastrophizing their own personal worries. So you may be worrying a bit about finances, then watch the news and now you think your whole life savings will be gone.
The stories that the news got wrong recently – majorly wrong – are too many to count. The retractions are always smaller than the story so people keep believing stories that have been debunked.
Before you get upset about a piece of news, think about how likely it is that it is actually true the exact way it is portrayed. Most of life is nuanced, but news tends to be black and white. Check out opposing news sources on it. Watch the whole video or read the whole transcript. Definitely wait a couple of days so see what else comes out.
We say we want to know the news so we can be “informed.” But, most of us don’t do anything about the news we see, except feel fearful. We consume news addictively when we could be doing something that actually influences the community.
If you are looking for more peace in your life, watch/read/listen to news no more than one time a day. Turn off the notifications and breaking news alerts. Go on news fasts every once in awhile, especially when you have been feeling anxious or down.
Instead get into nature. Call a friend. Do an act of kindness. Host a dinner. Journal out your worries. Volunteer. Write.